A young entrepreneur who personally experienced the highs and lows of junior competitive sport has launched a groundbreaking app in a bid to provide aspiring athletes with the life skills needed to succeed both in and out of the sporting arena.
Former elite gymnast Annie Flamsteed, 23, has spent the past two years researching, piloting and redesigning iNSPIRE SPORT, which gives young athletes and their clubs access to expert content and guidance on a range of wellness issues including sports science, psychology and nutrition.
The app, which also features software that allows users to track their wellness data and be rewarded for positive behaviours, was officially launched on Saturday 9 February at Fortitude Valley’s Lightspace.
Ms Flamsteed, the founder and CEO of iNSPIRE SPORT, said her vision for the app was born out of the struggles she faced as a champion junior gymnast in her home town of Toowoomba.
“I had everything – supportive parents, a great coach, access to psychologists and dietitians – but it still wasn’t enough,” she said.
“I was fit, muscly and bubbly on the outside but on the inside, I was struggling with anxiety, restricting my food intake, cracking under pressure and not sleeping well. Then I went to university and not only burned out but dropped out of the sport I once loved.
“I came to realise that the pressure associated with junior sport and adolescent life in general can become a huge struggle for some athletes – even at the grassroots level – and I decided I wanted to change the lives of young people.”
Alongside Chloe Watson, her former coach and now Chief Operating Officer, Ms Flamsteed has recruited a line-up of experts including psychologists, dietitians and exercise physiologists to devise validated content and courses for both young athletes and clubs.
“While the app will benefit all users, we are targeting aspiring athletes aged 10 to 20 and their sporting organisations, be they elite, competitive or grassroots,” she said.
“Our goal is to work with clubs and sports bodies and deliver wellness workshops for their athletes before inviting them to download the app, which provides the youngsters with a wealth of information and the clubs with data-driven insights into their athletes’ collective wellbeing.
“With the first month free and then only $2 per month, our subscriptions have been priced to provide children and families with affordable access to an elite level of athlete performance content.”
Ms Watson said her passion for the project was not only driven by her experiences as a former gymnastics coach but more recent events.
“Since becoming a mother and watching what so many kids go through, I want to minimise the risks for my daughter when it comes to psychology, diet and exercise – and I have no doubt this resource will achieve that,” she said.
Ms Flamsteed added, “Sport is a wonderful tool for empowering people of all ages but without education and support, the pressure can build and present mental struggles that cause young athletes to lose the love of their sport, and sadly give it up.
“I know what it’s like to crack under that pressure and want to give children and their clubs the life skills they need to succeed both on and off the sporting field.” iNSPIRE SPORT provides the innovative solution for athletes, clubs and even state and national sporting bodies.